Throughout Israel’s history, the nation struggled with theological forgetfulness and spiritual unfaithfulness. Time and time again, the people turned away from the Lord to worship foreign gods. Through the prophet Hosea, Yahweh reminded His people that the same God who had delivered them from the land of Egypt was still the one true God and Israel’s only Savior: “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior” (Hosea 13:4, ESV).
This passage in Hosea equates to a short history lesson on the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2–3). The prophet Isaiah delivered a similar reminder: “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11, ESV).
Idolatry is the ultimate manifestation of disloyalty, invoking jealousy and severe judgment from the Lord (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:8–10; Leviticus 26:27–33; Numbers 33:51–56). God’s jealousy and judgment were based on His love for the people He redeemed at such a high cost.
“You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you” (Exodus 34:14, NLT). When God set Israel free from slavery in Egypt and instituted His covenant with them, His whole desire was to live in constant, intimate fellowship with His people. No other god has ever offered such a loving, close, one-on-one relationship.
Israel’s national life and the personal life of every citizen depended on God because He alone was their Savior. In Isaiah 45:14–25, God called the nation to court and charged them with serving worthless “wooden idols” and “praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me” (ESV).
Without God, Israel would not exist. The people only needed to look at their own history to know this was true. If it had not been for the Lord delivering the nation over and over again, they would have no history at all. But still, they continued to abandon their God and Savior to serve foreign gods.
Nothing escapes God’s eyes (Job 34:21; Proverbs 15:3; Hebrews 4:13). He sees our wayward hearts and actions (Jeremiah 16:17; 17:10; 23:24; Psalm 44:21). The people of Israel thought they could live however they pleased and escape the consequences. But God saw their unfaithfulness just as He sees our disloyalty today.
Anything we desire more than God or value more than our relationship with Him is an idol. God must be first in our lives (Matthew 6:24, 33; Proverbs 3:6; Colossians 3:17). Jobs, success, money, possessions, and people can all become idols. Pride, greed, obsession with self-image, and the pursuit of unhealthy or ungodly relationships are all forms of idolatry—a sin of the heart (Matthew 6:21; Colossians 3:5). God longs, insists even, that He be the only one we seek to meet the deep needs in our heart (Matthew 22:37; 1 John 5:21; 1 Corinthians 10:14).
God still says to us today, “Besides me there is no Savior.” When we pursue love, identity, significance, worth, and security in something or someone other than God Himself, we are turning our backs on His love for us (Jonah 2:8) and forgetting, like Israel, that God is the only one who truly saves.
“Besides me there is no Savior” means there never has been and never will be another God and Savior of the world. The God of Israel, the Father of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only one. With our whole hearts, we must be devoted to Him and nothing and no one else.